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Articles written by Rick Steves


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  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Feb 12, 2020

    To travel as a pilgrim is to experience "travel with a purpose"-to go beyond tourism and connect more deeply with a place, a culture, or a faith. Travelers considering pilgrimages in Europe have the opportunity to follow centuries-old routes or trace new paths in a search for perspective on their own culture - or the culture of others. "The Camino de Santiago - the "Way of St. James" - is Europe's ultimate pilgrimage route. Since the Middle Ages, humble pilgrims have trod hund...

  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Feb 5, 2020

    Ireland is more than an "Emerald Isle." It's an isle filled with cultural and historic wonders...and lately with lots of tourists, too. And at many of its top sights, reservations are now either required or highly recommended. In Dublin, it's more important than ever to buy advance tickets for the most popular sights. These include Kilmainham Gaol, a museum housed in a former prison for political prisoners (visits are by guided tour only), and the Guinness Storehouse,...

  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Jan 29, 2020

    Britain, while engulfed in Brexit politics, is constantly investing in first-class projects to share its heritage - and, in so many ways, Britain's heritage is linked to our heritage. While many travelers are understandably curious about how Brexit is affecting tourists, from my experience it isn't. The only impact I've found is that the tourism industry seems to respect visitors more than ever. (And, for those who like to talk politics, the topic is a fascinating...

  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Jan 22, 2020

    Rome is nicknamed "The Eternal City" and nowadays it could also be referring to the lines you'll wait in. The city (along with Naples) is better organized than ever for the huge crowds that descend on it each year - but only for those who equip themselves with good information and use it. These tips may be wonky, but for smart travelers in 2020, they will translate into many precious hours saved - and lots of sweat avoided. Rome's big sights continue to tinker with ticketing...

  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Jan 15, 2020

    Nighttime's the right time - and reservations are smart any time - when it comes to seeing the great sights in Northern Italy. With all the crowds heading for the same few attractions, popular sights and destinations are packed, and ticket lines are long. For 2020, officials thankfully have promised longer hours and easier opportunities to book entries in advance. Here's the latest: At Venice's St. Mark's Basilica, it is now easy to reserve an entry time online, even for...

  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Jan 8, 2020

    Though visiting Paris' Notre-Dame cathedral won't be possible for the foreseeable future following a devastating fire, there are plenty of fine examples of Gothic cathedrals - and other Notre-Dames even - that you can see in France. When traveling in France, I can't help but marvel at the towering Gothic cathedrals that mark the centers of many towns. I like to imagine what it was like to be a pilgrim 600 years ago, hiking for days to a particular church on a particular holy...

  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Dec 18, 2019

    For scenes straight out of a box of old-fashioned Christmas cards, head to England. Many classic Christmas trappings, from caroling to mince pie and wassail, have been part of English tradition for centuries. Other holiday customs have their roots in the 19th century. Queen Victoria's German husband, Prince Albert, popularized the decorating of Christmas trees and the sending of Christmas cards. Around the same time Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol - celebrating the pow...

  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Dec 11, 2019

    With its romantic coastline, inviting beaches, and reliable sunshine, southern France's Riviera region has been a tourist destination since the 1860s. A hundred years ago, aristocrats from London to Moscow flocked here to socialize, gamble, and escape the dreary weather at home. But the area also attracted a who's who of 20th-century artists, who were drawn by the Mediterranean's bohemian atmosphere, luminous light, and contrasting colors of sea, sand, and sky. The legacies...

  • Embracing Europe in winter

    Rick Steves|Updated Nov 27, 2019

    Every time I travel to Europe in the off-season, I find myself enjoying a cool and comfy tranquility - and not missing the heat and crowds that so often come with peak season. But even more than that, I enjoy catching Europe by surprise - at its candid best, living everyday life. When I travel outside of the tourist season, Europe seems even more welcoming than normal. Some of my warmest European memories have been gained while wearing a sweater in the off-season. Lingering ov...

  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Nov 20, 2019

    When I first came to the Cinque Terre, then an isolated stretch of the Italian Riviera south of Genoa, it was a classic "back door": a string of five pastel-hued hamlets, gently and steadily carving a good life out of difficult seaside terrain. It was authentic, romantic, and without a tourist in sight. Fast forward several decades ... and the once-sleepy villages are now on Instagram bucket lists and mobbed in high season by organized tours and cruise-ship excursions. The...

  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Nov 13, 2019

    Strung along the Danube River, three capital cities - Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest - make up a triangle of enjoyable urbanity at the heart of central Europe. Each of these capital cities shares a common Habsburg history, and thanks to their proximity - only one or two hours apart by train - combining all three into one trip is a breeze. Vienna ranks at the top of my list of elegant European cities. Once the capital of the mighty Habsburg empire, it has a rich culture you...

  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Nov 6, 2019

    With a rich culture, friendly people, affordable prices, and a salty setting on the edge of Europe, Portugal understandably makes a rewarding destination for travelers. Bustling Lisbon and the sunny Algarve coast are well known to tourists (for good reason), but quieter places also offer tantalizing tastes of Portuguese flavor. About 90 miles northeast of Lisbon, just east of the pilgrimage site of F·tima, is lushly green Tomar - a quaint town of about 20,000 residents, set...

  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Oct 23, 2019

    Sampling Italian cuisine is sightseeing for your palate. The tour plan: Start with fresh ingredients and talented cooks, mix in a city's personality, and add a happy dining crowd. Experiencing Italy's cafÈs, cuisine, and wines is a joy, and in the heart of Tuscany, Florence offers a particularly satisfying spread. Tuscan cuisine is hearty and simple farmer's food: grilled meats, high-quality seasonal vegetables, fresh herbs, prized olive oil, and rustic bread. Tuscan...

  • RICK STEVES' EUROPE

    Rick Steves|Updated Oct 16, 2019

    Picture this: Half-timbered towns with tall cathedral spires, thatched-roof cottages dotted among green rolling hills, fat happy cows, and drifts of gnarled apple trees. This is the beguiling Normandy coast of France. Strategically positioned across from England, Normandy is the closest coastline to Paris. That prime location may attract urban beachgoers, but it also explains why this welcoming corner of France has seen more than its share of war. In the ninth century, Viking...

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